The Motion Picture is still the Most Powerful Propaganda

Hitler knew it… there is no more powerful propaganda tool that the motion picture, it’s ability to create and manipulate emotions, tell a story (real or imagined) and generally mess with people’s “hearts and minds” is powerful & effective.  The Nazi film TRIUMPH OF THE WILL by Leni Riefenstahl is revered as a classic in the history of cinematic manipulation… it is still studied in film schools all over the world.  The bottom line, Propaganda Films Work. Turns out the Republican Party knows this as well, and is using the American Press to deliver political propaganda to citizens in swing states.  All it takes is cash. A fear-mongering motion picture called OBSESSION: RADICAL ISLAM’S WAR AGAINST THE WEST


 is being distributed free on DVD in newspapers throughout election battleground states in an effort to scare voters into voting for McCain.  If you are interested in film as an influencer, you should read this LA TIMES article by DeeDee Correll.   The film is produced by Clarion Fund.  28 million DVDs (yes… 28,000,000 DVDs) were included as advertising inserts in newspapers in vital swing states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Michigan, Florida and North Carolina.  Clarion says the cost was in the “multi-millions” but won’t give specifics and WON’T say where the money came from.  Nice… tell us again Senator McCain, about “Transparency”… Some excerpts:

The News & Record in Greensboro, N.C., rejected the insert, calling the DVD “fear-mongering and divisive.”  “Of course, it’s not free speech,” wrote the paper’s editor, John Robinson, on his blog.  “It’s a paid advertisement making the case for one side of a complicated, controversial issue,” he wrote, noting that the other side would go unheard unless it buys its own ads.  He continued: “Newspapers decide not to publish information every day. Most of the time we call it news judgment.”  Some readers also haven’t accepted newspapers’ explanations for distributing the DVD. “If I paid you to distribute an anti-Semitic DVD, would you be so obliging?” Laurel Thompson wrote in a letter to the editor of the Denver Post, which distributed more than 553,000 copies of the DVD in its Sept. 14 edition. “Or how about a DVD celebrating the courage of [Columbine High School killers] Harris and Klebold?” Newspapers should not have accepted the advertising, said Marianne Weigand, 50, of Arvada, Colo., who complained to the Rocky Mountain News in a letter to the editor.  If she wanted to watch such a film, she would have sought it out, she said. “If you’re going to send something out, it’s a sample of Tylenol, not a movie full of something so violent, something that not everybody wants to watch,” Weigand said. “It’s propaganda about terrorism. . . . I don’t see anybody benefiting from watching that.”

The Republicans know that fear is their best (and only) selling tool… It has kept them in power for 8 years and was first proven to work in TV ads that got Reagan re-elected in 1984. Lord knows the Republicans have shown themselves to be incompetent in handling natural disasters, foreign affairs, the economy and protecting the constitution… fear is all they have left to sell the American people. Here’s my problem: there is no downside for a political party if they lie to us, none whatsoever. Why is that? If I park 5 minutes after 6 PM on my street in LA I get fined $35.  But if I spout outragious lies on public airwaves to get a candidate elected, there is no no judge, no jury, no consequences. In theory, the media outlet is supposed to filter this, but then THEY ARE BEING PAID to enclose the DVD, at a time that print advertising revenues are reaching an all-time low.  Some filter.  It is only a small minority of editors with a integrity like John Robinson (no relation) of News & Record in Greensboro, N.C. that are saying “no”.  But big papers owned by big corporations? No questions asked and thanks for doing business with us!  The ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS sent out more than 1/2 million DVDs! Shouldn’t the political party benefiting from these lies lose funding, or access to the public airwaves?  If you curse on the radio or TV or threaten the President, or break some other rule, the station’s license is revoked.  They are PUBLIC AIRWAVES after all and the stations LICENSE THEM, they don’t own them.


Social Networks are changing email marketing

Nice post by Loren McDonald at Media Post about the effects of Social Networks on email marketing…  

The new numbers show the tremendous growth and influence of social networking on advertising.  Could the days of massive BS be over for marketing folk?  With social networking, consumers are more than delighted to debunk claims, recut and make parodies of commercial spots and generally point out and ridicule marketing fluff.  These numbers were quoted from the book Groundswellpublished by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff of Forrester Research:

Recent studies show this shift:

  • 42 percent of adults 18-65 now know what social media is (Synovate study, June 2008)
  • 58.5 percent of college students use social media daily, up from 32.8 percent in 2006 (EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research, August 2008)
  • In June 2008, had 132 million unique visitors, a 153 percent increase over June 2007 (comScore World Metrix)
What effect will all of this have on copywriters and traditional agency creatives?

“Music 2.0” from futurist Gerd Leonhard (PDF download)

I’ve just finished reading Gerd Leonhard’s dead-on collection of essays MUSIC 2.0 which has some valuable insights for anyone in digital media… not just music.  If you have been paying attention at all over the last decade, you know than the moving picture’s fate closely follows that of music… now that we have a generation that has come of age in the “click to download” culture.   The book is available for download with a donation, or via

music 2.0

music 2.0



Let’s not spend any more time mourning the death of the late 20th centuries media revenue models… it was rank with abuse and promoted mediocrity and a brain-dead mass market. And remember that the arts, the written word, theater and music especially have been with us for a very long time.  Things are going to be new, invigorating, and worth paying attention to. Those of who care, should celebrate our good fortune at being present at the birth of something truly NEW.

The quick and flexible will flourish…  music and cinema and the rest of the arts are not going away… in fact they are becoming more important than ever. Bad news for the Industry leeches (you know who you are), but good news for all of us that value the quality of the work over the boxoffice receipts.

“No Rules” are the new Rules… media changed forever.

If you are looking for more proof that the fabric of the media universe is forever altered, read the article today in the NT Times by David Carr: “Lost in a Convention Haze, With Bloggers Lurking at Every Turn”.

When the Bagger stopped to interview Max Loveless, a college Republican who was one of eight kids waving McCain signs — “Drill Now!” said one — three of his buddies whipped out video cameras and started filming the proceedings. When the Bagger stopped in the Big Tent and talked toCraig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist, a blogger nearby perked his ears up from three feet away and started live blogging the conversation. And when the Bagger noticed that Clinton supporters were staging a protest at MSNBC’s open-air studio behind Union Station, he stopped to ask a few people what the fuss was about and was immediately surrounded by a thicket of recording devices.

“I think when you think about the network democracy or participatory democracy thing, this is a turning point in American history,” Mr. Newmark said, “potentially realizing the vision of the founders of this country because they and we wanted a more direct form of democracy. And with the Internet, we can start moving a little bit more in that direction.”

What Mr. Newmark, who disrupted an entire industry with his free community of ads, said was all the more interesting because some of it was taking place as we spoke.

Is Nokia’s OVI (the door) open?

Nokia’s fab new media and content store, “Ovi” (The Door in Finnish) has been open for a while so I decided I would check out the UK store and see how things were going. There has been tons of press and attention focused on Nokia emergence as a media company.  Unfortunately, you can’t use or even see their service unless you are on a PC and are running the Microsoft IE browser.  Hmmm. Do they assume every person who has a Mac as an iPhone?  I don’t, I prefer Nokia’s because they are great devices.

So I tried the site on my browser on my AT&T 3G Nokia 6555 (  It was 2 clicks to get to the Music store (I was told I could be “Entertained with Music”…  why didn’t I think of that…?) and when I clicked on “podcasting” I was told my 3G mass-market phone could not do such a thing.  I needed an N-series phone (their multimedia phone line to non-Nokites) So why, I wondered, did you let me go to that page?

Then I tried their “radio” link and was once again told I needed a N-series phone… in 5 point type I might add… A Nokia website can’t detect my Nokia 3G phone and present appropriate type size for my browser?

Then I went to the “music store”.  There I was able to download a promotional video (697k) about the Nokia Music Store (a 5 click process!) and once the file downloaded, I was told that the Nokia movie file was not supported on my Nokia phone.  I wandered back to the Music Store and was told that the service was not available in my country.  Okay — off to the TV & Video store… (what was I thinking?) nothing for me.

So… I gave up. having wasted 20 minutes of my action-packed life.  I don’t remember in all the promotional material I have read about OVI that the service was exclusively for USD $500+ N-series phones.  I do understand that gaining market share in the US market is supposed to be a priority for Nokia, it’s the one place on earth they do not dominate.  But this experience is not helping.  I am assuming AT&T has their fingers in Nokia’s lack of a US store.  Whatever… in the US market, the consumer comes last.

Sorry, I expected more from the world’s greatest mobile phone company.

Relax, YouTube posters are not pirating, they’re PROMOTING


Gaming publishers have long ago encouraged fans messing with their IP.

Gaming publishers have long ago encouraged fans messing with their IP.

Nice article in the LA Times today about YouTube’s new technology that tracks all “protected” content posted on the service and allowing the owners to either kill it (dumb) or “claim it” (smart) allowing them to share in ad revenue and important viewership stats and demographics. It’s not surprise that the gaming publishers are all over this like stink on a skunk, since they have LONG known that web videos & Machinema are probably the most important promotional tool they have. Only an idiot (and there are still plenty o’ those in Hollywood) would not see this advance as a full fledged green light for encouraging fans to rip and repost clips on youtube to their hearts delight. I’l be watching to see how the Industry Trades respond… and the movie folks in particular.

Millennials just like to watch – the pacification of the YouTube generation.

Yesterday I spent the day at the start of the HYDROGEN ROAD TOUR in Portland Maine USA, creating a EPK (Electronic Press Kit) for Volkswagen. I got to observe the visitors, and listen to their questions for three hours. Here was a chance to see cutting edge hydrogen cell vehicles and talk in depth with the engineers that actually built them. You would think that 20-somethings, the generation who is going to solve the current energy mess and reap the benefits of solving the same, would be all over this. Here was millions of dollars worth of new technology from the US, Asia and Europe, sitting on the foggy lawn in front of the Portland Head Light (lighthouse)… Free and open to the public.

Yet the average age of the audience was 65+. I estimated that 70% of the audience was over 65, with 25% 30 to 65 and the rest (5%) under 30. John Tillman, who is Program Manager for Volkswagen’s US Advanced Powertrain Research Program and one of the top fuel cell engineers in the US, blamed it on being in Maine, with a large retiree population, but I was not so sure. I saw plenty of young people in Portland, and many college kids home for the summer. 5% under 30? That was a shock. Energy Costs, Sustainability and it’s cousin, Climate Change are the most important topics in the US now… What is the deal?

Let’s assume that the low turnout was due to bad PR. But, those <30 that did come seemed to be content to just look at the cars, take photos on their cell phones and maybe listen in to the discussions for a minute or two – in the 3 hours I was there, not ONE person under 30 asked a question. The older folks however (men and women) were not at all shy about getting their questions answered, adding in their opinions and generally being very proactive getting info. John almost last his voice answering questions for 3 hours.

The difference in the generations was more than dramatic. The 70 plus people were very at ease verbally… enthusiastic and involved. The under 30’s hung back and clicked away with their mobile. They showed no interest in getting information verbally. Okay, lets assume they wanted to get info online… The older person who asked questions got the information much faster, in a personalized fashion and they would have had to go to a dozen sites to get the answers they wanted, assuming they answers were online. In many cases you could get information from John that was not published anywhere.

So does a life staring at a computer screen create a generation of people who can’t engage in conversations and seek information verbally? Snoop around (online of course) and you get differing data. From “The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (Or, Don’t Trust Anyone Under 30) By Mark Bauerlein” to this quote from

“This generation has a great ability to multitask and maintain several dialogues, which makes them versatile communicators. While this generation communicates through technology, they remain quite savvy in verbal communication skills (Melik, 2007).”

Beyond all of that, the ease in which these 70+ folks connected with one another was striking. The social and self esteem benefits were visible. They felt hooked in, empowered and important. You don’t get that from a Wiki page. It’s too bad they will never see these cars go into the mass market.

VW’s prediction for their fuel cell cars was sometime in the years 2015 – 2019, long after most of the people attending would have passed on. Very few of those attending would live long enough to see the world John was describing.

Where were those who would?